Why Regional Universities and Community Colleges Should Utilize Data Analytics
At a community college or regional university, it can be challenging to assess how the institution is performing – with such a diverse student body, success might look different for each individual. But whether you serve traditional students, adult learners, commuters, or international students, you can use analytics to help improve the delivery of academic programs and student services. Learn more from MassLive Media.
What Is Data Analytics?
Higher education institutions are already collecting a vast array of data. Analytics are simply sets of tools to find specific trends, patterns, and insights within that data. Schools can use data analytics from their existing platforms and processes to understand things like:
- Enrollment trends
- Student body demographics
- Student housing utilization
- Demand (or lack thereof) for particular courses or programs
With the right data, leadership can make better decisions about how to improve their strategies for supporting and retaining students. And, of course, it’s important to let students and faculty know how that data is being used: a report cited by PBS found that just 49% of students understand how their school uses their personal data.
Benefits of Using Analytics
More and more, colleges and universities are taking advantage of analytics to transform their academic programs, operations, and support services. Data analytics can give institutions a leg up in long-term planning.
Predicting Enrollment Trends
Higher education enrollment rates took a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. But National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports positive trends among community colleges, where undergraduate enrollment has dropped just 0.4% in Fall 2022. Using past data on enrollment and retention, schools can better anticipate if their student body will grow or shrink in upcoming semesters.
Improve Hybrid Learning
Analytics can also offer insights into where and how students learn best. After a major shift towards online learning in the past few years, schools are now welcoming students back to campus with precautionary measures in place. However, many regional universities and community colleges are still invested in providing remote learning, especially to accommodate nontraditional students. Online platforms like Blackboard and Google Classroom offer valuable data on how students learn. These insights can drive improvements as schools look to refine their hybrid program delivery.
Some community colleges and regional universities may struggle to offer one-on-one student support, especially with limited staff and funding. Using predictive analytics, schools can better identify students who need extra help and offer them the resources they need. Using grades, attendance, and other metrics, colleges can be more proactive about offering interventions to help a student stay on track toward completing their degree. Ultimately, these targeted student services may be able to improve retention rates.
Finding Cost Savings
Operational overhead can be a major expense for a college or university. Analytics can be as useful on the operations side of a college as it is on the academic side. Using existing data on revenue and expenses, schools can better predict their annual budgets and identify areas for potential cost savings, such as changing vendors or combining two offices with redundancies.
Develop a Marketing Plan
High retention starts with effective recruitment. Schools can leverage analytics to inform their marketing plans, whether it’s reaching new communities or tailoring their promotional campaigns to specific types of students. Marketing insights can help ensure that schools are reaching the right students in a timely manner.
Community colleges and regional universities are already collecting valuable data, whether it’s to meet regulatory requirements or qualify for state or federal funding. Using that data to your advantage can help you stay ahead of the curve in the increasingly competitive world of higher education.
Partner with MassLive Media
Ready to use analytics to your advantage? At MassLive Media, we partner with community colleges, technical schools, and universities to develop targeted marketing plans. Our team of experts can help you create tailored strategies for reaching new demographics, reconnecting with alumni, or recruiting international students. MassLive Media takes campaigns from concept to execution to help you achieve success in promoting your school. For more information, contact us today.